In the cobwebs of the old shed are various neglected and salvaged items hoping for regeneration one day. There is an old broken footstool I used to love and keep thinking I’ll fix and recover, a tumble of ceramic tile bins awaiting a mosaic renewal, some miscellaneous wood scraps and old doors, an aged upright piano long out-of-tune. Occasionally we try to clean it up, but no matter what we do, it seems to keep devolving into dark and dusty chaos. I don’t know about ghosts, but certainly there are residents there of the rodent variety as there is much evidence of their lifestyle.
So once in awhile, I bravely venture inside to unearth something to splash love, soap and paint on. On a recent journey thus, I came back into the sunlight with a very dejected ladder-back chair whose seat was a mere fray of remnant caning.
OK, disclaimer: I’ve never done any caning. 🙂 But I have painted a lot of furniture. (This is the variety of painting that usually started on a canvas, but felt constrained there and ended up on walls and furniture.)
A previously painted chair that I had done up in whimsical colors turned out to be desirable to some young grandchildren who came to picnic in the garden, so I thought why not do a second one so that there is a chair for each?
After cleaning (sterilizing!) the chair, I did some light sanding and then painted with some artist paints that I have on hand. This is one of my favorite anti-depressant things to do (besides gardening).
I found a terrific video from a very skilled caning artist. However, for this chair I wanted something more playful than traditional rush caning, so I tried weaving the seat with lengths of fabric scraps, with ends sewn or tied together. I purposely left the fabric edges raw. The guy in the video gave excellent instructions — even so I made a few mistakes along the way. Happily, it still came out OK and the seat is very sturdy and comfortable. I’m looking forward to the end of shelter-in-place so the chair can be part of the next (socially-distanced) garden picnic with the joyful young people.
If you try this, please send a photo. I’d love to see!
Happy gardening and creating! I hope your 2021 garden will be filled with exuberant life.
Post-note: In case it isn’t obvious, these chairs live indoors when not called to picnic duty outdoors. 😉
4 thoughts on “Upcycling an Old Ladder-back Chair Into a Playful Garden Picnic Seat”
I love the chairs! Hope those grandchildren are reading this too!
Thank you so much! I’m delighted you love the chairs. I don’t know if they are reading this—they might be too busy with schoolwork! 🙂
I do love the idea of upcycling and I love garden furniture so your chair was a great success in my eyes. You just need some sunshine and warmth for its debut sitting. Amelia
Thanks Amelia! So sweet!